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Every year an invasive weed grows in my garden. I do not know what it is called, but I call it the upside-down carrot. It has a leaf that is attached to a very fine delicate stem, which is attached to a root that looks like an upside-down carrot. Naturally, when I weed, the plant breaks off at the fragile stem and the upside-down carrot remains deep in the dirt. If I want to get rid of the root I need a shovel to dig it out. The upside-down carrot is God in our soul. God is so rooted in us, is so a part of us that we need to dig deep in our soul to rip Him out.
Sport is a good recreation. Yet, can Fenway Park offer eternal life? The mall has a lot of nice things to offer. But can the mall give you inspiration to get you through the darkest times of your life? I don’t think so.
The Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land. Moses was very old and he would die soon, so he stayed behind. But before they separated, Moses said goodbye and gave them a speech. In the speech, he told them that they would have a choice to make when they enter the Promised Land. Option number one was that they could remain faithful to God and they would always be blessed. Option number two was they could turn away from God and give their allegiance to another god. You may think that the correct choice would clearly be obvious, but here was the problem. The Israelites were about to enter the new land and for the first time in their lives they would taste bananas. For the first time in their lives they would have a glass of red wine with their steak dinner. So the Israelites would ask the local farmers, “Where do you get all this great food?” The farmers were not going to talk about John Deere tractors. They told the Israelites that they worship the fertility god. She was very nice to them when they worshiped her. At that moment the Israelites would have to make a choice. Would they remain faithful to God who gave them bread in water in the desert or will they turn to the fertility god who would give them wine with their steak dinner? So here is my faith question–when life offers you a choice, how do you make the right one? Here is how you do it. You say, “I like bananas, but I need something more. I like wine with my steak dinner, but I need something more.”
One day, Pope John Paul II went to a church in Sicily to give a talk on the evils of the Mafia. The church was filled with ticket holders. Take a wild guess who got the tickets. Well, one of them converted. One of the mafia guys had a complete turn of heart and converted. Think how hard it must have been to make that decision. Think of the financial hit he sustained. Think about the mafia leaders he had to disappoint. Think about the missed opportunities. How did he make the right decision? He thought, “I like the money, but I need something more than money.
When you come up to communion at Mass, the priest says, “the Body of Christ.” You respond, “Amen.” Do you know what this word means? It is a Hebrew word that means “rooted in.” So before you receive the Eucharist, you say to God, “You are rooted in me. You are my upside carrot in my soul.” We may have a nice bank account, a beautiful home, a peaceful garden, enjoy good food, have close friends. When God is rooted in us we say, “Yes, I like this or I like that, but I need more.” If we are able to say that, then when life offers us a choice, we will always make the right decision.Back to All Homilies